The ordinance, which received a 5-0 vote at the regular Patterson City Council meeting last week, would stiffen fines and limit each city address to four garage sales per year.
Violators would face a $100 fine for first offense, a $200 fine for a second offense, a $500 fine for a third offense and $1,000 fines for subsequent offenses.
Offenses include having more than four garage sales in a year, not removing signs after a sale and operating outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to a city staff report, the city receives many complaints about continual garage sales throughout Patterson. The city’s existing code requires only a fee of $2.50 for the first garage sale license and $25 for each subsequent sale. Garage sales are limited to two consecutive days per garage sale, but there is no limit to the number of sales that can be hosted at a given address. No penalty is specified for noncompliance.
Council members approved a first reading of the ordinance this week, but it will be on the agenda for the council’s July 17 meeting for a second, final vote.
City Manager Rod Butler said presented information about the proposed ordinance to the council June 19.
“We’ve had several instances where we’ve had serial garage sales,” Butler said. “That begins to have a negative impact on neighbors.”
Neighborhoods with ongoing garage sales deal with noise and traffic congestion, he said.
“We understand that people may need to have a garage sale,” Butler said. “So this will allow people to have a sale without running a retail business out of their yard.”
Council members removed one proposed provision, which would have allowed garage sales only at three-month intervals, after discussing the matter.
Patterson resident and real estate agent Eric Bendix spoke to the council about the three-month restriction, saying that some people needed extra time to sell all their belongings during a moving sale, for example.
Councilman Larry Buehner agreed.
“I just think that it sometimes takes more than a week to sell some of these things,” Buehner said.
He supported limiting residents to four sales per year but wanted to allow moving sales to run in consecutive weeks.
Councilman Dominic Farinha also pressed to remove the three-month stipulation.
“Trying to get rid of that much stuff — that is a little large, the amount of time in between sales,” he said.
Councilwoman Annette Smith disagreed with removing the provision, which she said went against the intention to limit serial sales and prevent a “flea market atmosphere.”
Mayor Luis Molina agreed with Smith.
“It’s not their neighbor’s fault they have sold everything they wanted or needed,” he said. “There have been red flags, with some people using it to run a business.”
The city fee for a permit to host a garage sale will remain at $2.50 for the first sale and $25 for each additional permit within a given year.
“We’ll need to educate people about the new rules to stop them from abusing the sales,” Molina said.
• News reporter Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31, or firstname.lastname@example.org.